Four years ago I was introduced to a class at the gym called Body Combat, and it quickly became one of my favorite classes. In this class you are encouraged to aggressively hit, kick and holler. The louder you yell and the harder you punch the better the workout. Ordinarily, these behaviors, especially around my house, are not the kind to land you a spot on the “good girl/boy” list. But in class, powerful swings and kicks accompanied by loud grunts leave me feeling like I might be eligible for a role in a Jackie Chan movie.
This morning I got to thinking and wondering, what is it about this class that gets my juices jumping and my arms and legs swinging with such passion? What is it that I am feeling (besides the amazing little chemical adrenaline)? And I realized it is POWER! I felt POWERFUL! Power is not something I have given myself permission to have. I have hidden my power. Growing up I learned that power was for men, not women. Women who were powerful were considered bossy, controlling and manipulative. While on the other hand, it was a necessary ingredient for any man who would ever amount to anything.
Then I remembered a great book I read several years back called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford. The long and short is that we all have light (our good side – we always want more of this) and shadow (the parts of ourselves we wish to hide and ignore) within us and while we pursue the light, we run from the shadow.
I didn’t want to be bossy, controlling and manipulative so I worked to hide those very large elephants. (Ha! Ha! Clearly that’s not possible, just ask my family.) But in hiding my “bossy,” I gave away my “assertiveness” and with my “manipulative” went my “confidence” and so on. Body Combat gives me permission to be powerful. It doesn’t make me powerful (not emotionally anyway) it calls forth my power that has been hiding in the shadows.
“Our shadows exist to teach us and give us the blessing of our entire selves. They are resources for us to expose and explore. The feelings that we have suppressed are desperate to be integrated into ourselves. They are only harmful when they are repressed: then they can pop up at the least opportune times.” -Debbie Ford
So thank you, Body Combat, for reminding me that I am a powerful lady who is learning to love and accept all of herself.